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2 weeks, 1 spouse and an FJR

Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
1,368
Location
Midlothian
First Name
Steve
This will not be an exercise in proper grammar, punctuation, or spelling. If you are easily offended by such please look away now.

What this is about is sharing a wonderful vacation that my wife Kathleen and I just completed. I’ve lived vicariously through the trips of others posted here and I hope I can now return the favor.

We had approximately two weeks off and we were going to see some of America by motorcycle. If you’ve ever canoed on river and a lake, you’ve noticed they are two different animals. I much prefer the river, where you start in one place and end up in another completely different place. On the lake you start in and finish in the same place while making a loop. For this trip we would try to give it that river feel.

We did not want to spend a day or two of 100-degree heat getting to anything good in the Rockies.

Enter BexarWolf and an earlier post about shipping motorcycles. (Shameless plug here) BexarWolf works for Forward Air (.com) in Austin. I had questions and he was very helpful during the experience. Long story short, we shipped the bike from DFW to Portland. We later met bike after a nice 3-½ hour flight. One 5-minute cab ride and we were reunited with our 2006 FJR in the Pacific Northwest. How cool is that!

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My biggest fear. Did I secure the bike properly or would the bike be laying on its side with a broken faring and bags? Drum roll please...

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Yeah baby, we're in business now.

Leaving Portland on I-84 east down the Columbia River Gorge, we stopped for a quick look at Multnomah Falls.

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We continued on into Hood River where we turned south to go see Mt. Hood a short distance away. It was kind of funny. You could see Mt. Hood from the airport (50 miles away) but with all the trees and hills we weren’t able to see it again till we were almost there. Mt. Hood is the highest point in Oregon at 11,239 feet.

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It had been hot, almost 93 in Portland. Isn't it suppose to be cool in the PNW? We stopped at one of the many orchards in the area and grabbed a bottle of water and one of the best peaches I’ve ever had. Closer to Mt. Hood it got to 75 degrees.

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We'd started riding about 3 in the afternoon so it was time to start heading to the only place we had a reservation for the night, Carson WA. We crossed the Columbia River in Hood River and proceeded west for approximately 20 miles to Stevenson where we would have nice meal at the BRG or Big River Grill. I hadn’t been that impressed with the Columbia River while we were in Oregon on I-84 but traveling on the Washington side on 14, the river was just beautiful.

This was taken just outside the restaurant. Punk haircut?

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We had made reservations for this one night only since we had no idea how much progress we would make each day of the trip. We weren’t exactly sure how long the trip would take either. Anyhow, all we had to do was find this quaint little cabin we arranged on the internet.

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Yes it could have been worse. But for the rest of the trip we would use the "boots on the ground" approach for picking our lodging.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2007
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8,834
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Fort Worth
First Name
Dan
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Gill
I'm looking forward to seeing more of this.

P.S. Your grammar and spelling pass muster for this Grammar Nazi.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
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Location
Midlothian
First Name
Steve
Day 2

The day’s plan was to ride north along the east side of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. We’d then go past the east side of Seattle continuing north until Arlington. From there we would turn east on WA 530 and try to get ready for our assault on the North Cascade Hwy (WA 20) probably the next day.

Along the trip we would find out what does and does not work for us. Since the FJR has an outdoor temperature gauge on it, I thought I would check it that morning. It read 61 F. A beautiful morning. Kathleen and I took our Olympia Airglide pants and jackets. Ok, we figured it should warm up a little as we go. So we just put on a extra layer of clothes under pants and jacket and left the thermal liners out.

When we left Carson, we entered the Gifford Pinchot National Forest portion of the Cascade mountain range on our way north. As we entered the heavily wooded two-lane road the temps really dropped. About the time the gauge said 54 F., we had to stop. So gear off, liners in, gear back on. This wouldn’t be the last time we made a wardrobe change on the side of the road. Once we had the liners in, mama was happy, which meant I was (warm and) happy.

The road to Mt. St. Helens was very remote and quite curvy. We road for quite a while in heavy forest until suddenly a clearing / scenic overlook appeared.

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Mt. St. Helens, our first look. (Did you ever notice no matter how far people travel, in their pictures they are always looking away from the attraction they came to see. Yeah us too.) The bike is still clean too, that may change later.

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We turned on to NFD 99, which is several miles long. The road passes by Bear Meadow overlook, Spirit Lake and ultimately dead ends at Windy Ridge along the northeast side of Mt. St. Helens.

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Hard to see from this shot but much of the devastion from the blast is still present 29 years later.

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Spirit Lake. On the right you can still see all the trees floating from the blast.

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The diagram shows Spirit Lake. The darker blue is the size before the eruption and the lighter blue is the current size of the lake.

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View from Windy Ridge.

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Next we rode through the Mt. Rainier National Park. Kathleen is actually looking the correct way.

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Kathleen and I

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The only boring part of the days ride was getting around Seattle in the late afternoon. All I can say is thank you HOV lane.

As we would on most of this trip, we crossed several mountain passes and generally competed with little traffic.

By the time we made it to Arlington we were getting tired. We drove a little farther and ended up spending the night in Darrington. Nice room and very good price plus the view of a mountain peak that still had snow on it.

Most days we got rolling on the road between 7:30 and 8:15 in the morning. We ususally stopped for a room between 5:00 and 6:30 at night. We weren't trying to Iron Butt this trip, just have some fun. 322 miles for the day.

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And the best part, a liqour store a few feet away! Who knew?

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Joined
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Steve
Day 3

We rolled out of Darrington much smarter than the day before. This time we put our liners on in the room instead of the side of the road.

We took another heavily wooded road north to Rockport where we turned right onto the North Cascade Hwy (WA20) to head east. I had heard good things about this road and read that it’s an excellent way to get to northern Idaho (since we’re going to Glacier). It happens to be the northern most road across Washington running east and west. I was half expecting maybe a four-lane roadway. I was pleasantly surprised to find an almost narrow, semi-remote two-lane affair. Perfect!

The first stop was the Newhalem Visitor Center as we prepared to cross the North Cascades National Park (and two passes).

We were to early and the visitor center hadn’t opened up yet. Oh well, always time for a photo.

Looking west.

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Looking east.

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I believe this is a shot of the Diablo Dam.

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A nearby waterfall.

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We kind of stumbled across the Ross Dam. Still early morning so some of the light in the pictures is good and some not so good depending on which way we're looking. Notice the snow on the peak in the background?

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Late August, how cool is that!

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Well if one side of the dam is full then the other side probably looks like this.

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We went just a little farther east and found the overlook for Lake Ross. Who knew they'd put Lake Ross so close to the Ross Dam. I would think people would get confused by that. Anyway a few pictures.

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And proving we were there.

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WA 20 was a fantastic road. Twists and turns, up the passes and down the passes. Of course never exceeding the speed limit because that would be wrong.
Besides I don’t think the FJR could do it. Well maybe downhill. As you exit the Cascades it gets pretty dry on the eastside. It was a more barren scene but still beautiful. I guess we finally got all those trees out of the way that were screwing up the view. :-)

We stopped in Winthrop for a late breakfast at the Duck Brand Hotel and Restaurant It was very charming and the food was great. We ate on the deck but the Yellow Jackets got a little annoying out there. For those that don’t know, Winthrop is done up in an old west theme right, down to the wooded sidewalks. If you can’t tell yet we’re having a great time.

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A lousy shot of part of downtown.

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Just before Kettle Falls, ¾ across the state, we were getting pretty warm. The road through the Colville National Forest was fun and often times technical, but we needed a break. We pulled over in a little turn out. Like on so many of the roads on this trip you are usually running alongside a river or creek while traveling through the canyons. Once stopped, I heard the sound of running water. A short jaunt down a hill rewarded me with cool water to splash on my face. It’s hard to explain but man that felt great!

A picture upstream and downstream of my personal oasis.

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We followed WA 20 through Kettle Falls an onto Tiger. Tiger is only approximately 20 miles from Canada when WA 20 turns south southeast.

No, I didn't buy my Triumph here. Didn't know you could.

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We're getting pretty tired by the time we made it into Idaho. We stopped in the resort town of Sandpoint. The Best Western had a room with a view and a deck on the second floor. We took it.

The view from the city park of the hotel.

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The view from the balcony.

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The days mileage, 404.
 
Joined
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Steve
Large container to Portland, $742. The charge depends on the distance and Portland is there highest cost. Please forgive if I got anything wrong, I'm doing this from memory. I used Forward Air and there are probably cheaper ways to do this but they have the decent containers and I didn't want to build a crate. Plus (Tad) BexarWolf was a big help.

The container and the $420 in airline tickets run the cost up a bit but I think this way of doing things really added to the value of the trip. I only get to do so many of these trips and this allowed us to get many more sights per mile. A small price to pay for us. and I'm saying that as someone who is paid by a small city government.
 
Joined
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Steve
Day 4

Leaving pretty Sandpoint Idaho, I make a mental note to spend more time here if I’m ever in the area again.

NEWS FLASH! I just remembered a very important detail from yesterday. If you are ever at the Best Western in Sandpoint for dinner, order the Ling Cod. Kathleen said it was the best meal of the trip for her.

We headed north on ID. 2, to Bonners Ferry. At Bonners Ferry (town not a ship) 2 turns south southeast towards nearby Montana (state not a Pontiac mini-van). Soon we arrived in Montana and reset out watches to Mountain Time.

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Just into Montana we turn north on 508 headed to the Yaak Valley. We’re almost in Canada (ah) and going to someplace called Yaak. How cool is that! You’re so far north you’re no longer going yonder way.

The road is not some imitation of the Dragon, but boy is the scenery beautiful! We stopped at a little turn out for a picture of the Yaak Falls on the Yaak River. This of course before we got to Yaak. (yes I like saying that, YAAK)

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We arrived at the Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak at about 11:10 am. The owner, Gloria was just flipping the sign in the window from Closed to Open. I had read a trip report from a person that had been there. It sounded like fun so we went too.

Just before we got off the bike Gloria was yelling out to us asking where we were from. Gloria was extremely friendly. Once we sat down she put a DVD into the big screen TV for us to watch. The DVD had been filmed by a local and contained all the wildlife in the area. We saw Moose, Bears, Wolfs, Deer, a Bald Eagle down to a Hummingbird and a number of plant life. For music there was a CD of local artists singing and playing there instruments in the background.

No pictures, but may suggest the Yaak burger if you ever get there?

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Gloria also has a dog named Sandie. Sandie is a very sweet dog that is more than happy to jump up on the pool table so she can have her picture taken with you.

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With our stomachs full we headed north on 508. I thought Hwy 2 was lonely coming into the state but 508 is desolate. 508 gets you within a few miles of Canada before turning east. Another mountain pass up and over on very tight roads with few guardrails and open range for cattle. Yeah, pretty cool.

We stopped and took off our liners as the day heated up. We weren’t bothered by many bugs on this trip except for right now. I’m not sure how to describe it, but words like Gnats and swarms come to mind.

We eventually came out on the west side of Libby lake.

Looking north on Libby lake.

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Looking south on Libby lake.

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We crossed the bridge and started down Hwy 37 on the eastside of the lake. I don’t remember the miles but it must have been at least 40 that we followed that beautiful lake. I don’t remember the speed limit but I’m guessing it must have been 90. I say that because (as I said earlier) I don’t speed and I was doing about 80 or so through all the flowing sweepers. I saw and passed the only two cars going the same way. Who needs a traffic report when we’re the only ones out here. What fun!

Libby Lake ends a little north of the town of Libby, at the (say it with me) Libby Dam. At that point it becomes the Kootenai River. Sorry, no pictures, I was riding. I hadn’t learned that skill YET of taking pictures while riding.

At Libby we reentered Hwy 2 going to Kalispell. Kalispell is where we would spend the next two nights, not far from Glacier National Park.

Glacier tomorrow!

Another great day to be alive.

Days mileage 282.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
581
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Garland, TX
First Name
Larry
Last Name
Gates
Looks great, I want to do just like you. Can I borrow your bike?

Larry
VFRrider
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
Messages
318
Location
Portland, Oregon
First Name
Carole
Homesick again. Multnomah Falls is one of my favorite places to be. Anyone headed up that way should take the scenic highway and look at all the falls.
 
Joined
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Ft Worth, TX
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Chris
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Tamez
Cool pics. I briefly passed thru PNW but would like to go back and spend way more time there.
 
Joined
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Steve
Day 5

We had booked the room in Kalispell for two nights so we could focus the whole day on one of my goals for the trip. Glacier National Park!

There was a brief shower just before we were ready to leave. On go the raincoats.

It’s probably a little over 35 miles to West Glacier from Kalispell. As you look to the east from Kalispell you see a wall of mountains. Must be Glacier Park.

During the ride to the park we had one 10-mile stretch of high winds. We made it through just fine and I got my man card punched. I thought we may have more high winds but that was it.

Finally, West Glacier.

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There are a number of shops for souvenirs and if you’re so inclined I would stop there. Lest you make some foolish statement like, “Gee honey, lets just drive in to the park. We can stop at the shops at the east exit.” I’m not sure who said it, I’m just saying.

For those that don’t know, Glacier has one road across it. It’s called “Going to the Sun Road” and is only opened a few months out of the year. West Glacier is on the west and St. Mary on the east. Today we would ride across. This is also where I learned that trick that many of you do, taking pictures while riding. You get some good and bad shots that way, but hey, film is cheap in a digital camera right?

Starting out.

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One of the rivers or streams that feed Lake McDonald.

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All the water on the trip so far has been this dirty.

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Looking east.

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Looking west.

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We're starting to ascend.

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And a little closer.

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Guided tours. The top in vinyl and can be rolled back for an unobstrcucted view.

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More scenery.

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Almost to the top. Where's Waldo?

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OK, heres a better hint.

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You never know what you'll see.

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Real close to the top now.

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Depending on your point of view, we’re either finally or unfortunately at the top. Logan Pass.

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Down the eastside to St. Mary.

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The glacier is fading.

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A poor shot of the glacier. Look up in the background.

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More of that dirty water running into St. Mary Lake.

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St. Mary Lake.

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Proof again that we were there.

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We had a wonderful lunch at the "Rising Sun Motor Lodge" before leaving the park.

Bye bye park. It's a little different on this end of the park and it was sad to leave.

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I seriously considering turning around and going back the way we came. However I planned to follow roads around the park back to West Glacier thereby making a loop for the day.

We exited the park in St. Mary where it looks like you could find a souvenir or two. Leaving St. Mary south on 89 we went uphill quite a while. There are nice flowing sweepers here but you travel through an area that obviously suffered a large forest fire.

At Kiowa we took 49 as a short cut. This is a fun road! I hope you don’t mind some sharp curves way up with out a guardrail though. 49 T’ed into 2 at East Glacier Park. We turned right onto 2, which took us through a number of sweepers on our way back into West Glacier. Kathleen got her long awaited souvenirs and I got to sit in a bobsled at the Canadian Information Center.

A person could easily spend several days in the park sightseeing and hiking. We didn’t have that kind of time but it was my most enjoyable day of the trip so far.

Day’s mileage, 227
 
Joined
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Steve
Nice seeing you again last night Melanie, its been a while. I guess it came as no shock to you reading that I never speed. :-)
 
Joined
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Day 6

This was a day to see Montana as we went from Kalispell in the northwest to Columbus in the south-central. Columbus would leave us in a great spot to tackle Red Lodge, Beartooth Pass, Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Cody and get a taste of Yellowstone the next day.

We didn’t get far out of Kalispell before we were heading southeast on 83 a little east of Flathead Lake. 83 is a nice wooded run with some curves. You’ll run alongside Swan lake and later a nearby small river keeps you company.

We stopped at Seeley Lake to stretch our legs and get some coffee. We didn’t take a lot of pictures on this day but here’s one of where we stopped.

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Ok, so I was feeling a little frontierish and I have no shame.

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Just before coming to the end of 83 we took a short break at Salmon Lake. As you can see, there was no wind on this morning.

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We turned east on 200, stopping in Lincoln for gas. 200 is bordered by subdued rolling hills and a lot less trees. It was very pretty and without the trees there was quite a bit more view. A few miles after Lincoln we turned southeast on 279. This was a fun, remote road that has it’s own pass to cross before eventually dumping us on I-15 a little north of Helena.

Ok, so 279 is a little woodsy on the way to Stemple Pass.

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Once past Stemple Pass things open up.

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At Helena we stopped at the Wendy’s to taste the local cuisine. Remember, it’s not fast cuisine; it’s good cuisine fast. We traveled east from Helena on 12. 12 was mostly really open with rolling hills and ranch land. There was one very fun canyon through the Big Belt Mountains that's a blast at 75 mph. As I remember the speed limit through the canyon must have been 80. Yeah that’s what it was, its all coming back to me now.

Near Harlowton, we turned south on 191. 191 took us to Big Timber on I-90 not too far from Bozeman.

A picture of some passing bikes somewhere on 191 might give you an idea of how open it is.

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We turned east on I-90 and took it straight into Columbus where we found a room for the night while avoiding some dark clouds. Just across from the motel was a restaurant / casino. We took our chances at the 307 Club for dinner. Kathleen had her second best meal of the trip there and we had a nice time.

Big day ahead tomorrow, woohoo!

Day’s mileage, 411.
 
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Steve
Day 7

Bit of an overcast day but we got out on time. We took 78 south out of Columbus to Red Lodge. 78 was a nice flowing road with some easy sweepers. It was mostly rolling farmland with some mountains in the background.

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Red Lodge in a beautiful little town that I did not take pictures of, other than by city limit sign. If I had known how quaint it was I would have tried to make it there the night before. I understand that you sometimes need reservations well before you arrive so I guess it all worked out ok.

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Anyway, one of the other goals for this trip was to ride over the Beartooth Pass and we were about to do that now. Near the top of Beertooth you arrive in Wyoming. Beartooth Pass runs from Red Lodge to Cooke City (just outside the northeast corner of Yellowstone). ¾ of the way to Cooke City is the turn off that places you on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (CJSB) headed towards Cody. I didn’t know which way I’d go when I got there but confident I’d figure it out (or flip a coin).

Pictures from Beartooth. Notice how it goes from more standard mountain terrain to a little more barren but rocky.

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Part way up.

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The view from a scenic turn out 3/4 up the Montana side.

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A picture of the scenic turn out as he travel up. It's hard to see but its at the end or the tree covered mound.

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Almost to the top and looking down. The air is getting pretty thin up here, 10,947 feet.

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Near the top we ran into road construction. No big deal but it lasted a number of miles into Wyoming.

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We didn't stop at the top, we just kept moving.

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Back on pavement.

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Ok, I'm a sucker for waterfalls.

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The dilemma. Stay on the Beartooth towards Cooke City or check out the CJSB? I started driving towards Cooke City and at the last second changed my mind and we hit the CJSB. What a great choice that lucky decision turned out to be. This turned out to be my favorite road on the entire trip. Nothing so tight that it made you feel like a mountain goat, just flowing roadway with lots of turns and great views. I especially liked how you went from a semi-forest at one end to a semi-desert at the other.

I know the photos won’t do it justice but here they are.

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I was a little slow getting to my camera, new skill and all. A passing car had flashed it lights at us. We slowed down and when we came around the corner we saw the two cowboys driving their herd across the road. Well, I got to my camera before they got out of the county.

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Both views taken from a bridge over a gorge. The camera just doesn't do it justice.

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View of the bridge.

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Now at the top of Dead Indian Pass (8048 ft.), we look back at some of our own semi-private race track.

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Down the backside of Dead Indian Pass.

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About to leave CJSB.

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The Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservior just outside Cody.

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Sorry, but all the time I have for today. Check back soon.
 
Joined
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Steve
Resuming day 7

I failed to mention we had a nice lunch in Cody on the patio of a nice Mexican restaurant located on Main Street. This was just before getting to the Dam / Reservoir.

The skies were threatening little so we put the rain gear on for our ride west into Yellowstone. This addition would prove beneficial later in the afternoon on what would be our longest day (time wise).

I had heard that the temps were around 100 back home. We'd been having ideal temps so I took this photo on a slightly cool afternoon after we'd entered Yellowstone.

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For those that don’t know Yellowstone (like me before this trip) the road in the center of the park is a big figure eight. You have feeder roads from the outside coming from the east (like we did), northeast near Cooke City, north by Gardiner, northwest on 191, west at West Yellowstone and the south at the Bridger – Teton National Forest.

There were no plans on this trip excepting the first night of where we would stay. We let the map and clock be our guide. Finding vacancies on this trip was never a problem.

The plan, since it was getting a little latter in the afternoon was to get across Yellowstone and find a room out the west side of the park in West Yellowstone.

Coming in from the east we passed what had obviously been a large forest fire and it was kind of sad.

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Things got a littler prettier when we came along Yellowstone Lake. It was still overcast but prettier.

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Look over Katleens left shoulder. Could this be a sign of things to come? By the way, it looked kind of cool but the smell was unpleasant.

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The road from the east entrance connects with the figure eight of the main park near Fishing Bridge. This is about the 3 O’clock position on the lower loop of the figure eight.

We turned north. The plan was to get to where the upper and lower loops come together, turn left and head for West Yellowstone and find a room. Yep, that was the plan all right.

From the best I can tell with still limited knowledge of Yellowstone, the best place to interact with wildlife is on the upper east side of the lower loop, between Fishing Bridge and Canyon. Clear as mud?

Going north and coming back two days later in this area we hit a traffic jam. Not a traffic jam like DFW at 5 O’clock but a jam nonetheless. Besides being very scenic this appears to a prime place for Buffalo to cross the roadway. I don’t know why, but when buffalo step on pavement they like to stop. Go figure. You can see an obvious problem beginning. Sometimes it took a lot of prodding from a park ranger in a ¾ ton Chevy with light bar to get them moving off the road.

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Well we eventually made it through that jam before running into another. This time things were a little more up close for us. Someone in a car apparently got a little impatient and started the buffalo moving. This wasn’t a stampede by any means but a few of them started half running. Oh yeah, besides the ones running near us, one of them was running AT US! I only hoped that they respected lonely little motorcycles and motorcyclists as much as they did cars. Be that as it may, I raised the only thing I had at my disposal. Yes, a small cannon that I carry for such times. I calmly raised my cannon at the raging beast, while I pushed off the safety (power button). As the beast passed directly in front of our motorcycle I took its picture. If I didn’t mention it earlier, I love my Cannon camera.

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Back to calmer times now, this was a common scene to stumble across. Yep, lots of fly fishers.

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It started to sprinkle so I put my trusty cannon up for the day.

We had seen signs since we entered the park telling us the road from Norris to Madison was closed. That didn’t mean much to us at first. Not until we got to the point where the two loops of the figure eight meet. That’s where we planned to turn left taking us to West Yellowstone. We soon learned that the road from Norris to Madison is the same road that leads to West Yellowstone.

Quick change of plans as the rain started to fall. We’ll go north and take the road out of the park going to Cooke City.

A couple of things to mention now. The road along the east side of the upper loop passes by closely to some tall peaks and is quite curvy at times. Probably one of the better motorcycle roads in the park. My apologies right now, to anyone in the cars who were in front of us. We tried to be as respectful as possible and I thought we did a good job but the rain was starting to come down hard and I just couldn’t do 15 – 25 mph.

When we got to a junction we were about to turn right and head towards Cooke City. It just seemed that there was a shorter route to civilization than this. Easy fix right, just look down at the map on the tank bag. Well it’s still raining pretty hard and I don’t feel like hunting for my reading glasses, wherever they were. Ok left it is and towards something (else).

Turned out to be a good decision and we passed Mammoth Hot Springs on our way out of the park. Five miles later we were in Gardiner Montana were located refuge. Refuge and a view of the Yellowstone River from our Upper story balcony.

View from the bridge of our refuge.

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View of the Yellowstone River from our room.

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We had been on the bike for a week and having a great time! It just seemed that all we did was ride and look, look and ride. Someone had an idea. Why don’t we just stay an extra night here and in the morning we can call those people that left the nice brochure about rafting. I thought it was a great idea too. Then someone else reluctantly agreed, eventually warming up to the idea. Tomorrow’s plan was in place.

Today’s mileage, 365.
 
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Day 8

The weather still looked bleak but it was suppose to clear up later.

A quick call to the folks at Wild West Rafting (shameless plug / they did a nice job) and we were set up with the full day rafting trip. We figured we’d probably not get another chance so the full day trip (18 miles) seemed like a better choice for us than the half-day trip.

They provided wet suits and some type of wet jacket along with booties and life preserver.

So here we go.

Our starting point. This is as close to the park as you can get without getting a federal fine.

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Our hotel room is close to the right side of the bridge.

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Katleen on the far left with the blue jacket and myself on the far right. Ryan our guide is from South Africa. Ryan is an adventure junkie and travels the world picking up jobs as an expert in almost anything. Ryan was great! The family with us hailed from New York State. They were doing the half-day trip and we dropped them off later before contiuning on.

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Benny the boy ("riding the bull") on the front of the raft was being offered up to the River Gods.

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Kathleen is the only one still visible.

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If any of my old racing buddies are looking at this, I'm the only one still paddling trying to go faster. :-)

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The whole day wasn't quite like that. As a matter of fact, the trip is much more exciting I'm told in June when they have four times the water volume running through the river.

A little more sedate now.

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Someone fishing.

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Kathleen after getting a bath.

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Ryan said anyone could go swiming if they wanted to. I figured no one else was so someone had to be a leader. Oh yeah, the waters 68 degrees. They finally let me back in the raft after about 20 minutes and one or two set of rapids later. Thats me the brain surgeon!

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Ryan.

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The end of our trip and pick up point.

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A wonderful steak dinner and a couple of beers in downtown Gardiner and our day was complete.

Day’s mileage, 0. (raft miles 18)
 
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U guys really picked some of the best of the PNW to go to. Thanks for sharing. Remember, all great roads need to be run in both directions. ;-). IE Cascade Nat'l Park, Yellowstone, Glacier. I too was blown away by the destruction evidence at Mt. St. Hellens.
 
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We were there this spring and came to the fork in the road... We took Beartooth and absolutely loved it. But we're planning a return in a couple of years and we'll do Chief Joseph next time.
Great trip.
 
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Day 9

We know that you could spend several days in Yellowstone and not see it all. We had only about a half a day. What can I say, miles to travel.

Reentering the Yellowstone from Gardiner.

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Mammoth Hot Springs.

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The Ranger told us that the Elk like it here at the Mammoth junction. He said that it's there breeding ground and the wolves don't come down and bother them here.

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Today’s plan was to travel down the west side of the upper loop. Beautiful scenery here for sure. Where the loops connect we turned left and headed east to the Canyon junction. At Canyon we turned south. We were now at one of the attractions we wouldn’t miss. The Upper and Lower Falls of Yellowstone.

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The Upper Falls from a distance.

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Zoomed in.

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The Lower Falls.

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Mandatory proof.

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Does Glacier know they have these?

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Water getting ready to go over the Upper Falls.

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And over.

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Remember where those buffalo like to cross the road? What do we have here?

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I'm told that bear sitings are kind of rare in the park. I guess we got lucky!

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And with a some zoom.

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We followed the lower loop clockwise, passing the south exit of the park until we were about at 8 O’clock. Old Faithful here we are!

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What we didn’t know was that there were several other geysers in the same area. Old Faithful we learned was now on about an hour and forty minute schedule. Of course we had just missed Old Faithful’s last performance by a few minutes.

After watching one of the other geysers in the area blow off some steam we decided to leave. Miles to go.

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And with that we rolled out of the south exit of the park hoping to come back when we had a little more time.

Exit the park and you’re now in the Bridger – Teton National Forest on Hwy 89. 6 miles of dirt roads and dusty traffic delays later we were once again happy campers.

It was getting warmer and it was time to stop and take off the liners for the day. Jackson Lake in the background.

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Mr. FJR is starting to get a dirty.

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Although the light was not in the best spot for taking pictures of the Tetons, I still tried a few.

Jackson Lake near the Jackson Dam.

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Jackson Dam

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A view from the Teton National Park.

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It was about 5:00 pm when we made it to Jackson Hole. Great place to get a room. We found this on Main Street about a block and half from the city square.

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I had been to Jackson Hole once years ago for skiing. I rememberd it as a neat town. I was happy to see it still was and it was one of favorite places to stay on the trip.

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I would have thought Kathleen already had enough of my bull.

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We had a couple of beers and a nice dinner here.

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Honest, I ate too! Very pleasant here as the sun was setting.

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They shut down before we finished our dinner and drinks. Looked like a fun way around town.

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Kathleen says I'm a bear in the morning?

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That was about it for the day. What a wonderful time we had. Only 167 miles but the miles don't tell the story.

I'm about to start three 12 hours days and may not get back here till Monday to finish. Hope you enjoy!
 
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Steve,

Looks like a wonderful trip and the pictures were great. Enjoyed talking to you today.

Bruce
 
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Great report and pictures. Bringing back many memories for me. Thanks for the work of sharing your journey with us.
 
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Day 10

Coming into Jackson Hole the night before we saw a very interesting building. It looked like a stone single level castle sort of with one turret.

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It turned out to be the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

We’re not refined art connoisseurs by any means but like every other place we’ve been, we don’t know if we’ll ever get back again so we better see it now.

The day’s goal then was to take our time getting up but be at the museum when they opened at 9:00 am. We’d stay an hour or so and then head to somewhere in Utah for the night.

As a so-so art person I would recommend the museum to anyone near the north side of Jackson Hole, artist or not. Besides a large inventory of paintings they also have a large number of Bronze sculptures, some of which greet you on your way into the facility. We found a new favorite painter there (don’t know that we had one before), Carl Rungius.

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This was one big cat overlooking the lobby one floor below.

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Sorry but no one is allowed to take pictures inside the gallery.

Leaving the museum about 10:30 am. we took 89 south into Idaho. On the way to Alpine Wyoming we followed along side the Snake River.

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At Alpine we came across another dam / reservoir where we left the Targhee National Forest.

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Things you just don’t see everyday. Afton Wyoming.

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A Two Wheeled Texan perhaps? Looks like one of us.

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Leaving Wyoming for a sliver of Idaho on the way to Utah.

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This isn’t the most direct way anywhere I suppose. I’d done a lot of research and tried to hit the best roads along the way (or out of the way). During the research I highlighted a lot of maps with my learned best roads. For this trip I just tried to connect as many of those highlighted roads as I could covering the general areas we wanted to hit. Overall I think we were pretty successful!

89 took us past Bear Lake and onto 30. Bear lake is about 50 / 50 in both Idaho and Utah.

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We took 30 until we turned south on 16. This was a very remote and isolated road. Thank goodness no breakdowns.

From 16 we turned southwest on 39. This was one of my highlighted roads and it didn't disappoint. Lots of semi-tight and flowing turns through these canyons. At Huntsville we took 167 south. A quick side trip and a look at Snowbasin Ski Resort (Olympic fame) before hitting I-84 by Green Mountain (think not to far from Ogden).

Snowbasin in the summer.

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We traveled east a short distance on I-84 and got off at Morgan. South out of Morgan on 66, we turned right on 65. 66 / 65 were two more of the highlighted roads that simply did not disappoint, taking us past two dam / reservoirs and up and over one mountain pass. Sorry no pictures, the road was two much fun.

65 took us to I-80 coming out of Salt Lake City. We again headed east up I-80 with a short detour into Park City. After Park City we took 248 to Kamas. It was getting later and we (I) hoped to find a room there. Well Kamas didn’t have a motel and we were (I was) wrong. We ended backtracking up 32 to I-80 where we found a real nice Best Western in Coalville at a very low rate. This was the only time on our trip that we did not find a room when we wanted to and had to put in some extra miles.

Day's mileage, 378.

Tomorrow's goal - probably Moab.
 
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No it doesn't Wally. We'll be home in a few days and then the fun is over. For this year anyway.

Seriously, I'm glad you're enjoying it.
 
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Day 11

When we left Coalville the temp gauge read 61 degrees. What a beautiful temperature to start a day's ride in late August (and typical on this trip).

We backtracked down I-80 and 32 to Kamas. A few miles south of Kamas is the thriving metropolis of Samak. At Samak we to took 35 southeast. This was another highlighted roadway that lived up to its billing. As we crossed over the Wolf Summit 9450’ things kind of opened up. Wow! (typical of most places we went) The road looked like a racetrack. I hope this picture gives you some feel for it but its obviously a lot more fun in person.

You may have to look closely to see the road.


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Eventually all good things must come to an end. We came up rise and suddenly found ourselves in the high desert, just before the road T’ed into 87.

It was warming up so we took a break and shed our liners under our gear before turning onto 87 south.

It’s real treat having a bike with a fairing and windshield to take all those bugs you find along the way.

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As Paul Harvey used to say, "And now for the rest of the story." This picture is for the naked bike riders. I tend to ride with the windshield in its lowest setting (taking the wind off my chest only).

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I had already gone through a 7 oz. can of Plexus by this time. I loves my Plexus! I had a brainstorm while on this trip. Maybe I could mix up a 50 /50 batch of Plexus and OFF bug spray. You know, try to repel the little fellers before they even hit the faceshield. Just a thought.

87 a short distance south and into Duchesne (pronounced I’m told as Do-shane) where we topped off the gas.

On this trip I filled up a lot more than I needed to. I would have liked to go farther on a tank of gas but I wasn’t always to sure where I might find the next (OPEN) station.

We went southwest out of Duchesne on 191. 191 was an interesting road for me. We first traveled through Indian Canyon. This canyon had a desert look to it. I remember thinking that since we’re headed to southeastern Utah its only natural that it’s drying out. Like so many other times on this trip, this was another incorrect observation on the author’s part.

Before you know it, we’re traveling through the wooded Ashley National Forest.

Indian Canyon was interesting in another way too. While traveling through it (approaching Ashley) the canyon wall on our right was semi barren while the left side was getting forest like. That was weird for me. I expect one side of a mountain to be lush and the other side dry but I didn’t expect that sort of a thing in the same canyon.

When we came to the end of 191 at 6 we came across this electrical plant (I think). Wasn’t expecting that for some reason.

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At this point, if we were just trying to reach Moab we would have gone south on 6 about 12 miles to Price, taking 6 / 191 south. But I had that darn highlighted map calling the shots. So instead we went north on 6 approximately 20 miles where we turned left on 96.

Some pictures of the rugged beauty around 191 / 6.

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And a two holer that's not an outhouse.

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96 was nothing special and looked more promising on the map. Once on 264, things got better. A nice tight road taking us past a coal plant, then up and over a pass. Other than a few cattle on the road here, (open ranges occasionally) things were looking up. Over the pass the valley opened up but the roads stayed twisty.

Looking back (maybe a little hard to see) the road we had just came down on.

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The view looking forward. And seeing the bike should be presumptive proof that we were there too!

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Ok, for you flat-earthers.

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264 brought us to 31 (Skyline Drive) and one of my new favorite roads. At this point we were about as high (about 10,000') as got in the area. We hadn’t gone very far when the view from both sides of the road opened up. You here it all the time BUT these pictures don’t do it justice.

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31 was so much fun! I guess if 31 had been really hyped, I may not have been quite as impressed. But going from a squiggly line on a map to reality often times is a real eye opener. 31 starts up high and works down a mountain for miles. We passed a couple of dam / lakes along the way as we hit sweeper after sweeper for about 40 minutes. Halfway down we paralleled a large stream or small river as we passed through the La Sal National Forest. This was the last time we saw forest until we got to Colorado.

At the bottom of 31 near Huntington the terrain changed again.

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About 2:00 pm. we were in Huntington, so we stopped for lunch and this silly picture.

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We took 10 north until we got to Price. At Price we took 6 /191 to I-70. Along the way we were delayed by construction and the heat rose to about 98. Yeah I know, it’s a dry heat………… Just like my oven! Didn’t take any pictures, just tried to keep moving.

It was getting later in the afternoon when me made it to I-70. Once moving eastbound on the interstate we were making good time but the crosswinds bounced us around quite a bit.

We exited I-70 at 191 and took that straight into Moab. I knew that my map said we’d hit 128 only 22 miles (east on I-70) past 191. My research said that 128 was an excellent motorcycle road that also ended up in Moab. As bad as I wanted to ride 128, it was getting late and we just wanted to get out of the heat. For once the map lost. Maybe tomorrow.

We didn’t know what to expect in Moab after our difficulty finding a room the night before. No worries though when we got into town. The town is pretty good size for being in the middle of nowhere and has plenty of lodging and restaurants. You might even be able to find a store or twenty that could sell you a souvenir, rent a bike, 4-wheeler or jeep.

One picture from the patio where we had dinner. The poor woman looks heart broken spending my money doesn't she?

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Tomorrow’s goals: Arches National Park, 128 and ending up somewhere near the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado.

Day’s mileage, 379.
 
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Day 12

Another goal of this trip was to see some of southern Utah. You know, the terrain that looks like it’s in a Roadrunner cartoon. Unfortunately, during trip planning, you find more places you can’t get to the ones you can. Maybe we’ll make Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef etc. on the next trip. But on this trip we’re going to Arches National Park at least.

We got going about 8:15 am. The temp was still in the middle 60’s and I liked that.

Arches is just a couple of miles from the north end of Moab. We had passed the entrance the night before on our way into town.

Just outside the park on the west side is a large fault line causing this wall of red rock in front of us.

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The sun was definitely still rising as we got to the first scenic view point.

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I failed to mention that once inside the park there is just one main road with a few different branches off of it. Basically, a long dead end.

I know the lights not right but I’m having some fun taking pictures while riding. In the background are the Petrified Sand Dunes.

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As we rode through.

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According to park literature, the park contains approximately 2000 arches.

Nearing the furthest most point of the park road we came upon Skyline Arch.

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This would turnout to be one of my favorite arches, largely due to being so close to the road. :-)

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A little closer from near the base.

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The next stop was at the Devil’s Garden. This was as far as you could go on the main park road.

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The path if you wanted to see some more arches.

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This got me to Landscape Arch. This arch is just one of a few, mentioned in the park brochure. 306’ across, it’s HUGE!

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There were a few more arches ahead that I hadn’t heard of. It had taken us about 10 minutes to walk to Landscape Arch and the path’s sand was getting deeper. I love my SIDI’s but they will never be confused for hiking or running shoes that’s for sure. So we turned around and headed back for the bike. We have lots more to see today. Did I mention it’s already starting to get warm?

Not far for Devil’s Garden was the road leading to Delicate Arch. Our next stop was in search of the famous Delicate Arch.

The sign told us that the Delicate Arch trail is one and half miles long, much of which is uphill going there. Ok, put our tennis shoes on and left the boots sitting next to the bike. Did I mention it's getting warmer. Oh yeah, I did.

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After many minutes of hiking uphill we came to this section. Kathleen said that's it, she'd had enough.

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Somewhere in here my new hiking partner (nice fellow going the same way) and I got off the main trail a little bit.

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I don't know what I was thinking, you can plainly see the trail in the picture right?

Delicate Arch sits in this large bowel (way up) and we ended up on a tall rock out cropping on on edge of the bowel. Most of the other folks seemed to have better luck than we did and they ended up IN the bowel. Still the view from up there was fantastic and well worth the hike to anyone considering it.

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And the closest look.

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The view walking back to the parking lot.

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Next up after exchanging boots for tennis shoes at the bike was the Windows area and Balanced Rock.

Windows area.

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Balanced Rock.

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By this point its about 1:00 pm. and we were hungry and hot (97 degrees).

We returned to Moab and had lunch. During lunch we met a nice couple who we saw arrive on a shiny red Gold Wing. We got to talking with them and they told us they only lived a few hours away. The really cool thing was that their adult kids had gotten to together 4 months earlier and purchased that bike for them to replace his 1986 Gold Wing. Show of hands, who has kids like that? Me neither.

Because of the heat we decided to forget about hitting 128 (go up and come back the same way) and just getting to Colorado as quick as we could. Should be cooler there! To use a fishing term concerning sought after roads, 128 was the one that got away.

We continued south on 191 to La Sal Junction. From there we took 46 east and soon found higher elevations and forests. Temps dropped as low as 75 degrees. What a relief!

Utah gave us a little bit of fun before depositing us in Colorado on 90.

Going down please.

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No guardrail to hurt us with plenty of run off.

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Our first look at Colorado. I think it might change.

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90 took us to 145 near Vancorum. 145 turned out to be a fun road as we neared Placerville.

At Placerville we took 62 north. That would get us over to Ridgeway and a few miles above Ouray on 550 (Million Dollar Highway). 62 was another twisty road that provided a lot of fun as the scenery changed.

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A picture between Placerville and Ouray.

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It was somewhere around 4:00 pm when we got to Ouray. It didn’t look like much at first. A few buildings along with some motels and an R.V. Park was all we saw. I was feeling good and considered going on into Durango 90 miles away but eventually thought better of it. We got a nice room at the newest motel, I think it was the Hot Springs Inn.

I can see why this place is called the Switzerland of the West. There wasn’t a lot of extra room with the mountains shooting straight up on either side of the road.

I asked the lady at the motel where I might get a 6-pack. She pointed in the direction we’d leave in the morning and said just a few blocks that way, in town. When we first passed her hotel the road turned to the left and looked it like civilization had ended. So I turned around before I saw the town. I’d heard Ouray was a small town and landlocked all around. Shoot, I figured I’d seen it all when I’d passed the motel (what a maroon).

A nice 2nd floor room with a balcony right over the river.

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Our walk into town for dinner. 2/3's of town.

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We had a nice dinner at O'Brians Pub. The Irish Stew was terrific!

On the way back we passed a kid who seemed unashamed to be mooning his friends who were in the park right next to the main road. The kid then suddenly became shy when saw our camera, go figure. And he started giving us some lip even though we wern't having wardrobe problems. I don't know who, but somebody mentioned that his mother must be on crack to raise such a boy. The kid said she didn't use the stuff. At some point he wrongly assumed we were def and finished the conversation in sign language.

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Then something really neat happened. A guy came to pick up his daughter at the park. The girl looked like she could play Annie in the musical. But that wasn't the neat part. It was his cool machine!!!

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Sign outside the motel.

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A beer and a soak in the hot tub at the motel and a another great day came to an end.

Tomorrow's goal, somewhere in New Mexico ready to make DFW the next day. It's winding down but we still have some great roads ahead.

Day's mileage a fun filled 211.
 
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Day 13

We met a couple at the motel that were traveling by motorcycle too. They were going north and us south. The interesting thing was that they lived about 35 miles away from us in Ft. Worth. Small world I guess. They travel a little more often then we do and apparently his wife packs a little more than Kathleen does. So to keep her happy, he had this cool single wheel trailer.

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Talking with the man he said that if we could make it to Clayton N.M., the next day would be a relatively easy ride back to DFW. Sounded good to me.

The last choice to make was whether to ride through southern Colorado or northern New Mexico. Kathleen had spent a lot of time in Colorado in years past so we needed to see more of New Mexico. Easy choice then.

The goal was to ride the Million Dollar Highway to Durango, go east on 160 to Pagosa Springs, south on 84 to 64. 64 snaked back and forth while passing through Taos on its way to I-25 just south of Raton. We'd take 64/87 from Raton to Clayton and call it a night.

One last look at the little river outside the balcony and it was time to leave.

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Leaving Ouray as we started on the MDH. Oooh, this could be fun!

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Stop for one last time for a look at Ouray from up high.

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A few shots of the MDH while it was straight enough to use a camera and steer.

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At one point it got a little cooler than I expected.

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Signs you don't see around here.

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64 went from this view,

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to this view on a pass,

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to this surprise on the other side of the pass,

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to the Rio Grande Gourge outsideTaos.

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I didn’t know what to expect from most roads on the trip but 64 was surprisingly fun, going from Taos to Angel Fire. This was also my last time to imagine I was Rossi for the day. I’m afraid to guess who Kathleen imagined I was but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Rossi.

From Cimarron to Raton to Clayton we were surrounded by storms but only managed to receive a drop or two. It felt a little like Moses fleeing Egypt and knowing someone was watching out for you. Danger all around but we were fine.

We made Clayton no worse for the wear and found a decent motel for $50. We’re finally back on budget for the last night.

Day’s mileage, 469.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
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Midlothian
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Steve
Day 14.

No pictures and not much to report.

Rode from Clayton N.M. to home in Midlothian in about 8 ½ hours.

Day’s mileage, 519.

Our wonderful trip had come to an end. I hoped you enjoyed it too.
 
Joined
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Steve: FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! A request: could you post a map of your trip? It would be easier than me writing all the highway numbers. We live in the PNW so the trip looks like one we can do!
PS: To answer your question of does anyone have kids that buy them a new bike? Yes, my son got me my Bandit brand new[the bike we are standing beside in my avatar].
 
Joined
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Wanabeguru, I hate to tell you this but I'm not a computer savy person. I know there is a way to do it but I don't know how. Thats the reason I listed the roadways. I would have liked to have had a map posted too. Maybe someone will jump in here and hold my hand through it.

P.S. I have a map of the western U.S. where I highlighted our course. It looks pretty impressive to me.

RedPill, thank you for the kind words. It was more work (and time) making the report than I thought it would be. Kind of a my trip is your trip sort of thing thing.

I really enjoyed this trip more than most I've taken. I have a real sense of satisfaction afterwards for some reason.
 
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Andy
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Chesley
Great report with great pictures. The thing about pictures is that it refreshes our minds on the scenes that no camera can do justice.
I remember a note I wrote in my note book years back on my way to North Washington.
" Don't do 550 in Colorado first as it sets the standard for scenery and roads too high."
 
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